Monday, January 14, 2008

Youth Without Youth

A few weeks ago, as I was dreaming of my birthday party even in the middle of holiday merriment, I had an idea. My birthday only happens once every four years (February 29, Leap Day!), so when a Leap Year comes around, as it does in 2008, I tend to get a little giddy with the prospect of throwing a great big party!

This year, the 29th is on a Friday, so I immediately started thinking about a blow-out bash: rent a room in a bar or club, invite every single person I know in NYC… you know the kind. This will be my 8th birthday, and I know from experience that I will get more than a few “gag” gifts: Barbies, stickers, etc.. So, I thought, why not ask my friends to intentionally bring a gift suitable for an 8-year-old? Clothes, books, toys… We could then donate everything to a children’s charity here in the city.

And then the idea grew: why not do more? Why not ask my friends to join me in a benefit concert? I recently joined the roster of Sing for Hope, an incredible non-profit organization that “supports artists who create events that benefit humanitarian causes.” With a motto of “Uniting Artists, Uniting Communities” and a roster of singers, actors, dancers, composers, pianists, and even acrobats from Cirque du Soleil, all of whom donate their time and talent, SFH “facilitates the connection between artists and charities, and provides a network of support.” Over the years, SFH has raised over a a million dollars for HIV/AIDS charities alone.

After doing a little research into children’s charities in the city, I found one that I felt I connected with, and I sent off an email to the director of SFH, asking for her help in facilitating with the charity. She loved the idea, and immediately set to work! It’s amazing working with a group that has ground-work very well laid and with people how know how to make ideas become realities. We all - representatives from SFH, the benefiting charity, and me - are hoping to meet tomorrow for a chance to talk over the idea and the program and the details. As soon as we meet, I’ll update here to let you know the organization. We are even hoping that one of their choirs of children will be able to join us on the concert!

Last week I also sent out a message to my friends, and as of now I have more participants than I know what to do with! We’ve had to shift the date to Sunday, March 2nd, instead of doing it on the 29th, because a good friend is making a big debut that night! Many of us want to attend her recital, and I wanted her to be able to join us in the concert, so we just made a slight adjustment. Stay tuned for concert rep information, but you can rest assured that we will all be singing "Paradox” from the Pirates of Penzance!

If all goes according to plan, I’d like to see this turn into the way I celebrate my birthday (or un-birthday) every year. We’re starting with a small no-fuss Sunday afternoon concert at a church; maybe by my 9th or 10th birthday we’ll be hosting a $10k/table gala ball!! This could turn into a major relationship with this charity, or we could rotate through several that feel like a good fit. What an exciting prospect, what a way to give something back...


Anonymous said...

Let us "out-of-town" folk know how we can support the charity (in your honor) from afar.


Matthew said...

Happy birthday! To you and Rossini, which, if I read your hints correctly, is all-too-appropriate this year.

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